BREXIT Uncertainty: British Expats in the E.U.

The day after BREXIT, financial markets are reeling, the British youth is distraught, and Scotland and Northern Ireland are seriously considering renewing independence and reunification talks respectively. Many people consider these to be the worst consequences of BREXIT, however, the truth is that we haven’t even begun to see its colossal side effects.

Essentially, the gravest problem that will continue to plague trade between the U.K. and the rest of the world for possibly a decade or more is the uncertainty over any agreements with them. Though E.U. laws are still in effect until the U.K. actually leaves, many businesses and traders will be halting trade with the U.K. because of the fact that these laws will probably not be in effect for much longer. The truth is that economically speaking, it would make sense for the U.K. and the E.U. to maintain many of the trade and travel agreements already in place. However, many E.U. leaders have already promised to be brutal when creating new agreements in order to discourage other countries from attempting to do the same. Many banks have already responded and have announced the closure of headquarters in London and the consequent movement of thousands of staff to other cities such as Dublin or Frankfurt.

How will this affect British planning on retiring abroad or who have already done so? The simple answer to this question is that no one knows for certain yet. One of the largest worries is how healthcare abroad will change. Currently, within E.U. countries you can get healthcare for free as an expat from another country in the now 27 nation bloc. Now, the U.K. will have to make new deals with the E.U. or with individual countries regarding healthcare for their expats. Though it is possible that the E.U. may decide to not make any deals at all regarding this issue and simply say that British expats will have to get a private insurance company or become citizens.

Though healthcare is certainly an important issue, British retirees will first have to worry about whether they will even be able to become expats in countries such as Spain as easily as they can now. The truth of the matter is that the E.U. may respond so severely as to say that British citizens will need to go through long visa processes to even get the chance to live on the mainland.

For British citizens that are already living abroad, the situation is safe for now but can quickly become tenuous. There are millions of E.U. citizens living in Britain right now, and it is unlikely that they will simply be kicked out. The same goes for British citizens in the E.U. However, if the negotiations go badly and Britain does force E.U. citizens to leave or places a burden on them, you can expect the same kind of repercussion being forced on British citizens in the E.U.

At the end of the day, it is difficult to say what exactly is going to happen in most aspects of BREXIT. The most important things to do now are: staying up to date with changes in the laws and remembering that until there is a change or a new law, the old one stays in effect.